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FDA approves lynparza for breast cancer with BRCA gene mutation

The FDA has expanded the approved use of Lynparza to include the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer who have a BRCA gene mutation…

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has expanded the approved use of Lynparza (olaparib tablets) to include the treatment of patients with certain types of breast cancer that have spread (metastasized) and whose tumors have a specific inherited (germline) genetic mutation, making it the first drug in its class (PARP inhibitor) approved to treat breast cancer, and it is the first time any drug has been approved to treat certain patients with metastatic breast cancer who have a “BRCA” gene mutation.

Patients are selected for treatment with Lynparza based on an FDA-approved genetic test, called the BRACAnalysis CDx.

“This class of drugs has been used to treat advanced, BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer and has now shown efficacy in treating certain types of BRCA-mutated breast cancer,” said Dr Richard Pazdur, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “This approval demonstrates the current paradigm of developing drugs that target the underlying genetic causes of cancer, often across cancer types.”

Lynparza is a PARP (poly ADP-ribose polymerase) inhibitor that blocks an enzyme involved in repairing damaged DNA. By blocking this enzyme, DNA inside the cancerous cells with damaged BRCA genes may be less likely to be repaired, leading to cell death and possibly a slow-down or stoppage of tumour growth.

Lynparza was first approved by the FDA in 2014 to treat certain patients with ovarian cancer and is now indicated for the treatment of patients with germline breast cancer susceptibility gene (BRCA) mutated, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative metastatic breast cancer, who have been previously treated with chemotherapy. Patients with hormone receptor (HR)-positive breast cancer should have been treated with a prior hormonal (endocrine) therapy or be considered inappropriate for endocrine treatment.

Today, the FDA also expanded the approval of the BRACAnalysis CDx, an approved companion diagnostic to Lynparza, to include the detection of BRCA mutations in blood samples from patients with breast cancer.

The safety and efficacy of Lynparza for the treatment of breast cancer was based on a randomiSed clinical trial of 302 patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer with a germline BRCA mutation. The trial measured the length of time the tumours did not have significant growth after treatment (progression-free survival). The median progression-free survival for patients taking Lynparza was 7 months compared to 4.2 months for patients taking chemotherapy only.

This application was granted Priority Review, under which the FDA’s goal is to take action on an application within 6 months where the agency determines that the drug if approved, would significantly improve the safety or effectiveness of treating, diagnosing or preventing a serious condition.

Lynparza is also approved for the treatment of patients with BRCA-mutated, advanced ovarian cancer who have received three or more treatments of chemotherapy, and for the maintenance treatment of patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer whose tumours have completely or partially responded to chemotherapy.

The FDA granted the approval of Lynparza to AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP. The approval of the BRACAnalysis CDx was granted to Myriad Genetic Laboratories, Inc.

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